I Want to Fit In

Politically Incorrect Social Studies

Downloading Movies for Free Really Isn’t Illegal

Posted by iwanttofitin on March 26, 2007

Yesterday my dad made a comment about how much he really like the new James Bond movie, Casino Royale. As a joke I said I could download it for him and he could have it on DVD. His first response was, “Isn’t that stealing”? Now, normally I would agree. Downloading movies and such for free isn’t something I do. Other than being afraid of getting caught, I don’t feel like figuring out how to get the stuff to work. Without thinking, my response to my dad was, “It’s not stealing if you’ve already paid to see it.”

Most of the time we would laugh and I’d probably make one more quick sarcastic comment, but it got me thinking so I argued my position impeccably. I’d like to share it with you because it is obviously legal to download movies for yourself off the internet as long as you have previously paid for it in some way or another.

My thinking was/is this. If you pay for cable or satellite, you can TiVo/DVR or use your VHS recorder to record movies, TV shows, etc. without fear of prosecution. You can do this as long as you keep it for personal use. You’ve paid to watch it so you can keep a copy for yourself. That’s understandable and reasonable. That broadcast is yours. You buy, you keep.

You go to the movie theater to watch a movie and you can’t record a movie there because: 1. It is very annoying to the people around you, 2. The theater owners won’t let you, 3. Quality is terrible, 4. It is illegal. Now this shouldn’t be illegal, but since it is, it is still listed. That really only leaves you with two options. 1. Wait until it comes out on video and purchase a $20 movie you previously paid around $7.50 to see already or 2. Download it using some internet downloading service.

I don’t see anything wrong with downloading it as soon as you come home from the theater. You paid to see it already, so why not have a copy for your own personal use? If you purchase the movie on a physical disk, you get to watch it as many times as you like and with whoever you want. So if ten of my friends and I go to the same movie and spend $75, we still have to shell out $20 if we want to watch it again? Why?

It is the same principle as television. Yeah you paid to watch that movie at in the theater at a particular time, but you also pay your cable or satellite provider to watch programs and movies at a particular broadcast time. You can record one legally but not the other. The laws don’t seem to be applied consistently.

This whole “illegal” downloads thing is just a way for film producers to line their pockets. It is all about greed. They have politicians paid off along with judges so the consumer gets raped of their money. These laws are unjust and unjust laws don’t have and validity. Our nation’s judges strike down laws all the time because they don’t think they are right. The consumer needs to step up and strike down these laws with our actions.

Update: This morning (3/27) I came across a New Release DVD blog that referenced this article. Check it out here. He says he can’t follow the logic, but hey, sometimes I don’t even follow it.

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6 Responses to “Downloading Movies for Free Really Isn’t Illegal”

  1. Alternatively, the cinema ticket could give you a unique ID to the URL that lets you download the film for free as you have paid for it.

    The benefit to the producer would be that they could flog you more stuff, fill your head with all the nonsense about how tough it was to make that film and some individual extra stunt shots etc.

    Seems like a great idea, you could start a petition!
    All the best!

  2. When you buy a movie ticket you are buying the right to watch that particular movie at the time specified on the ticket. When you buy a DVD you are buying the right to watch that movie whenever you want.

    That’s the difference.

  3. When you purchase cable or satellite you are also buying the right to watch programs at times specified by your provider but you are legally allowed to record them.

  4. From your point of view, you are absolutely correct. In your post, you also use the words “so long as you use it for your personal use”.

    The person breaking the law then, is not you the downloader, but the distributor, since the distributor is not keeping the movie for their personal use.

    If you were to agree with this type of thinking, then you would also realize that you as the downloader are co-operating with a law-breaker, and that is probably against the law. (I’m not sure)

    What do you think?

    Cheers / Ben

  5. No, I understand that downloading from someone who is obviously not using it for personal reasons is probably against the law, but then again, why should it be? If you were given the right to download the movie once you paid for it in one way or another, what would the difference be if you downloaded it from a studio’s website or from someone else? As of now, it is against the law though. I do understand that.

  6. Interesting post. Would really like to see more like this. 🙂

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